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Introduction to Slam Poetry
Transcript of Introduction to Slam Poetry
Slam Poetry reveals your inner thoughts about issues most important to you
The term "slam poem" is really an umbrella category for all poems meant to be performed for a live audience in a competitive environment. "Spoken word" refers to all poetry meant to be performed aloud, including in noncompetitive environments like open mics.
Therefore, all other kinds of poems, from haiku to sonnets to love poems, can be considered slam or spoken word poems. And slam and spoken word poems can be the exact same thing.
For the purposes of this class, each student will write a poem to perform publicly for the rest of the class at an in-class "slam" -- so we'll call the poem a slam poem.
The only rule, aside from the constant need to be school-appropriate (no profanity or gratuitous references to sex or drug or alcohol use), is that it be entertaining for the audience. How is that achieved?
The same as with poems written for the page, yet different, too. As with poems written for the page, all the poetry elements are key:
be precise and clear and original,
use imagery and metaphors and sound elements like rhythm and rhymes.
The first is the performance component.
It helps to consider a slam poem as not a poem read aloud, but a fusion of 50% poem, 50% dynamic stage performance.
slam poems, always memorized, often use comical exaggerations, unconventional angles, surprise twists, and big emotions like love, heartbreak, or outrage.
They also may have parts where there are voices to imitate or places to move around.
The second thing that makes a slam poem different from poems written for the page is that it is more aesthetically pleasing to audiences.
Traditional slam rules limit poems to three minutes, slam poems tend to hover around that length --
They often tend to, though certainly do not need to, borrow a lot from hip-hop styles, using plenty of internal rhymes, rhythmic flows without a rigid rhyme scheme, and slang.
They also tend to fall into one of three camps: the funny,
the emotionally powerful,
and the funny-and-emotionally-powerful.
The third camp has the most winners in it.